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MANILA, Philippines – It’s not just President Benigno Aquino III who protesters at the EDSA Shrine Sunday, February 22, called on to resign for an overhaul of the government which they say has failed the country.
Protesters led by the “EDSA 2.22 Coalition” converged at the historic shrine and demanded the President to step down, along with other top government officials – Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte – over the government’s failures in the Mamasapano incident.
The January 25 incident saw the deaths of 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) while in pursuit of two top terrorists in the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao. The incident also left 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and at least 3 civilians dead.
They first held a motorcade from Makati to the shrine at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue, where dozens of police officers barricaded them from entering the shrine itself.
Among those in attendance at the march were the President’s uncle and aunt, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco and Tingting Cojuangco.
The 2.22 Coalition is led by businessman Manny Lopez, who said the group only seeks reforms in the government.
The coalition of civil society groups have called on the mass resignation of the top officials, and said they support a “transition government.” They insist, however, that they are non-partisan and do not support any single person or group to take over the reins of government.
Sunday’s rally is part of a planned series of actions by various groups, ahead of the February 25 commemoration of the 1986 People Power revolt, which saw the overthrow of then President Ferdinand Marcos 29 years ago.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma earlier Sunday said police will exercise maximum tolerance. – Rappler.com